Posts Tagged ‘hugos’

WOV_09_KH0009_01_PSo it was the Hugo Awards and, if I have this right, everywhere it was a Sad Puppies slate* ‘No award’ won, everywhere it wasn’t a Sad Puppies slate a story with the ‘right politics’ won.

This is being hailed by the Anti-Puppies (Angry Kittens?) as some sort of victory, since the Puppy slate didn’t win, but that seems, to me, to have gotten things utterly wrong.

What happened has confirmed 100% what the problem is. Rather than allow a good story that just happens to have been written by someone with the ‘wrong politics’ (or just someone who was nominated by the Puppies) they’d rather nobody won at all and are willing to block-vote on that basis, whereas the Puppies were happy to divide their votes based on personal assessment of merit throughout their slated offerings.

There’s absolutely no way, whatsoever, that you can argue this hasn’t been politicised now, nor can you argue that this politicisation is not to the detriment of what are supposed to be awards based on talent, not political orthodoxy.

I’m on the left, I’m progressive (in the proper meaning of the word) but I simply can’t simultaneously claim that political ground AND seek to silence others or demand that any and all kudos can and should go to people who agree with me on every point or who use their work to preach (rather than their work being informed by their politics).

A good example of this, for me, would be Peter F Hamilton. He’s right wing, I’m left, but he writes fantastic space opera that deals with interesting technological and social questions, yet no Hugos for him. Politics have nothing to do with whether he’s a good, popular writer or not.

The hope for me, and I think for a lot of Puppies, that was by demonstrating the problem they would prompt a correction of the problem. Instead the awards system seems to have doubled down which leaves two paths:

  1. Escalation (a single Sad Puppies nominee).
  2. Fixing the problem (this seems massively unlikely given what’s happened).

A possible third would be to set up a new award, or to boost a different award, but the false narrative about Sad Puppies (similarly to the one about Gamergate) is so powerful that people will hate and/or ignore it anyway.

I don’t know where this goes from here, but it’s not a victory for anyone.

It has, however, demonstrated blatantly that the Sad Puppies were right.

*The Sad Puppies is a protest movement against politics rather than talent having determined who won the Hugo Awards (science fiction and fantasy book awards) for the past few years. In protest they created a slate of titles for ‘block voting’ in an attempt to counter this corruption by showing what the problem was, in order to encourage reform.

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Please see disclaimer*

Flush with success after rooting out thought-crime recidivist Jonathan ‘Paltrow-Fucker’ Ross and stringing him from the gallows the Committee for the Unification of Narrative Tropes has begun turning its eye on other problematic areas, such as ancient myth.

Committee chair Zutana Alors explained the committees priorities thus:

“For millennia now classical myth has exerted a strong, exclusionary and problematic influence over multiple cultures and has cast a long shadow over all fiction. By attacking the root cause of these particular tropes we hope to eliminate a great deal more problems before they start. Much of ‘science’ fiction and ‘fantasy’ takes its cues from these sorts of stories and changing them should eliminate a great deal of offensive material.”

Pressed for further details the committee released a preliminary report on the changes they’ve decided to make, specifically to Greek mythology.

  • Race is an issue, all the characters are Greek. To fix this people of all ethnicities will be introduced into the mythology, over-represented compared to contemporary demographics to compensate for millennia of literary oppression. The only remaining Greek character is Hades, who will double as a symbol of hegemonic white oppression over that period.
  • As a symbol of beauty Aphrodite creates unrealistic expectations and hence body issues in many young women. As such she is to be replaced by a genderfluid, pre-op, plus-size, disabled transwoman with special needs. This will demonstrate that anyone can be sexy and that everyone is deserving of love.
  • Ares is a phallocentric glorifier of violence and destruction. He creates a problematic template for toxic masculinity. Changed slightly, Ares will make an excellent figure of fun and a cautionary tale to be avoided. As such he is now a buffoon with a giant cardboard sword and is to be renamed ‘Dudebro’.
  • Theseus and the Minotaur has been deemed to be prejudiced and triggering towards Otherkin (those who identify as having animal souls) and will be rewritten into a peaceful encounter wherein Theseus and the Minotaur engage in a long debate. After the debate Theseus will check his human privilege and come to an understanding of his innate, subconscious prejudice to the non-human community.
  • Zeus is also a deeply problematic figure as a womaniser and serial rapist. As a model the committee has looked at how to correct the story of Leda and the Swan. In the new version Zeus approaches Leda respectfully with no obvious intent of seduction or physical intimacy until she expresses a possible interest. They undertake a journey to visit Eunomia, goddess of law and justice, where they draw up a contract of consent before their coupling. Leda changes her mind and says no, Zeus respects that and returns to Olympus. This has required excising Helen of Troy from the canon, but as – like Aphrodite – she presented an unrealistic, platonic ideal of female beauty – this saved even more bother.

The committee was asked by a member of the Culte de la Raison who attended the open meeting why they were devoting so much time to rewriting fictions and where the harm was in what were obviously just stories. He was informed that words hurt before being dragged outside by the Revolutionary Guard, all the while protesting the need for empirical evidence. He was then beaten to death with typewriters to make the point more emphatically.

*Definitions of liberty and equality may vary, fraternity includes sororalty and all points in between. One liberty per customer – to be determined by the committee. Some are more equal than others. Dictionary definitions not accepted. Semantic arguments not accepted. Allegory, metaphor and problematic characterisation or situations not covered. May cause ideological fanaticism. Side effects may include loss of humour, ‘triggering’, excusing bigotry from traditionally oppressed groups and emotional blackmail.

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